Abraham Lincoln is Inaugurated on March 4
Abraham Lincoln took office as president of the United States on March 4, 1861. In his inaugural address, Lincoln stated that he had no desire to tamper with the domestic institutions of the South, but he also stated that his oath of office required him to enforce the laws and collect the taxes in all of the states and to hold onto the federal property such as arsenals and forts and navy yards. The speech was very unpopular in Virginia among men who approved of secession and also among men who opposed secession. Many delegates, including strong Unionists, informed the convention that if Lincoln attempted to use force to collect taxes or enforce federal laws in states that had seceded or to take possession of any of the forts that seceded states had seized or threatened, they would regard that action as making war on those states. Some opponents of secession suggested that under that circumstance they would support armed resistance to the federal government. Two very important federal military installations were in Virginia, the armory at Harpers Ferry and the navy yard at Portsmouth.